Last week Jobs with Justice leaders pounded the pavement on Capitol Hill trying to make sure immigration reform will work for workers, not just corporations. Now, as Members of Congress are home for Easter recess, Jobs with Justice local coalitions are setting up appointments and hosting a town hall meeting to ask Members of Congress to demand workers’ rights protections be included in any reform.
Last Tuesday, women leaders from Jobs with Justice joined the We Belong Together Campaign to add to a new and quickly building conversation on the potential effects of immigration reform on women. Nearly 200 women participated in 70 congressional visits. JwJ leaders expressed concerns that the bill being drafted by the Senate Gang of Eight (all of whom are male) could shut out millions of women and de-value women’s work if proof of employment is required for citizenship, because they are more often employed in informal, contingent, and unverifiable jobs, or at home caring for their own families.
Wednesday, worker leaders from the POWER Campaign spent the day with House offices talking about fundamental workers’ rights protections that need to be included in immigration reform, including protections for workers from retaliation for organizing. The workers came from five different sectors from five different states, some undocumented, some visa holding guestworkers — but all shared similar stories of employers using immigration as a way to suppress rights and keep wages and standards low.
Members of Congress are now home until April 6th, and Jobs with Justice leaders are having similar conversations at home in more than a dozen states. This marks just the beginning of the Jobs with Justice campaign to build a stronger workers’ rights movement through immigration reform.